do the clothes
make the man or woman?
how important is it to ‘dress
been in my job for more than five years; everyone says that’s
too long and that I should be pushing for a promotion or changing
companies. I’ve been trying to get myself noticed for internal
promotions, and I’ve been interviewing outside the company,
but nothing is happening. One thing the “experts”
advise is that you need to look the part, so I’ve spent
quite a bit of time and money improving my wardrobe and appearance.
The right clothes are supposed to get you noticed and give you
confidence, but it doesn’t seem to be helping me much.
The expert says: Stephen Covey, in his book,
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, reflects on the tendency
in our society today to rely on superficial quick fixes to improve
our social interactions. Clothing often becomes an easy way to
define our identity. There’s nothing wrong with dressing
well to convey a professional or social image. The problem arises
when we rely on clothes to camouflage character flaws or shortcomings
that result from denying our true identity. Bill George is a former
chairman and CEO of Medtronic Corporation. When asked what the
most important characteristic of leadership is, he replies, “I
believe that leadership begins and ends with authenticity. It’s
being yourself; being the person you were created to be.”
(Authentic Leadership, 11)
Since God created us, we can conclude that authenticity means
becoming what God calls us to be. Clothes and personal improvement
techniques mean nothing if we ignore God’s call. In Matthew’s
Gospel, Jesus points out that the Pharisees and scribes were good
at appearing to be holy, but they did not live the law of love.
Jesus, therefore, admonishes them for not being authentic -
“Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so
that the outside may also be clean.” (Matt 23:26) With this
in mind, we might be well advised to examine our own motives and
• Am I wasting time cleaning the outside while the inside
• Do I spend as much time in prayer, reflection and service
as I do in enhancing my physical appearance?
• Just because I improve my outward appearance, am I really
improving myself as a person?
Stained-glass windows on their own can look impressive, but it’s
only when light shines through them that their true beauty is
unveiled. Our outward appearance is like that stained glass -
only when we allow God’s light to shine through it will
our true and beautiful self be exposed.